Month: October 2018

<em>Two Observations: Investing Excited Curiosity in Others & the Loneliness of Writing</em>

Two Observations: Investing Excited Curiosity in Others & the Loneliness of Writing

Recently, I had dinner with a few friends. We were chitchatting about life and general catch up.

Then the conversation veered toward me and how writing was going on Book 2.

Before I breathed an answer, one of my friends lurched forward in her chair, which flung her long hair around her face and into her bowl of chili, and she blurted out…

“How did you come up the idea for this book?!”

Then without taking another breath, she rocked forward again and asked,

“How do you come up with so many ideas?”

My friend’s excitement and curiosity was a bold contrast from what I experience on a daily basis. I got excited.

It’s not the first time I’ve been asked these questions, but it’s been a long time since someone expressed such enthusiasm in my ideas and my writing.

There are a couple of observations I took away from this interaction.

***

The World of the Writer

As a writer, the kudos, accolades, and pats on the back come slow and few and far between.

It’s a lonely world as a writer.

I had an artist friend tell me about the time I published my first book, “You have to be your own cheerleader. No one else will do it for you.”

He’s passionate about the work he does and is extremely comfortable in his own skin.

Me?

I’m that stereotypical introvert.

I hate promoting myself. I’m not one for the limelight. I’m more quiet than chatty until I get comfortable with you, then you’ll probably won’t be able to shut me up.

I’ve always doubted myself and downplay my abilities.

And yet…

You have to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and tell yourself that what you’re doing is worth it, it’s making a difference, and you do have a voice.

When I first started writing, I had this preconceived notion that many would sing praise of my wonderful way of words.

Ha! Um, not so much.

Heck, I’ve had close family members yell at me, “You have no business writing!”

Those who I thought would have an opinion say nothing at all, good or bad. Crickets at best.

Yet, some of the best critiques, and encouragements have come from those who I don’t really know.

Then out of the blue, someone I’ve never met will tell me how much they enjoyed my writing.

I take that lil drop of encouragement to keep on keeping on; writing and learning my craft and gobbling up every little tidbit and crumb I can scrounge that will help me to become a better writer…and person.

But here’s what I need to realize about writing or anything else in life I’ve done…

It’s not that others don’t like it, or love it, it’s that we have our own little universes we’re traveling through, consumed with trying to get along in the day without too many collisions.

Someone remarked to me the other day, “We’re all selfish, Christian.”

Yep, we are.

And in doing so, we have a tendency not to tell someone how much we appreciate them, love them, or verbalize our support for them or they’re work because, well, we’re busy.

With what?!

I dunno, at the end of the day I’ve been busy with…stuff.

Stuff that I was involved with, and consumed by, and the last thing I had time for was to write a nice email to someone or give a good review on something I really enjoyed or simply say hello to a friend.

I need to do better. I need to be a better friend. I need to stop being so busy with stuff.

***

Curiosity in someone’s life is a gift: to you and the other

When my friend asked me that question, it made me feel like someone was truly interested…in me. Made me feel special. I loved it.

I had a client recently open up and tell me all about his life. We put our current task to the side as I asked questions, commiserated with him, and genuinely listened.

Afterward, he told me, “Thanks for listening, no one ever does.”

We didn’t solve any of his problems. Only time and long effort will solve a portion of life’s issues for him, but he needed a sounding board, someone he could trust and get somethings off his chest.

How much more should we be passionately curious with our closest people in our lives?

I think back to past relationships that eroded away because of this one thing…or the lack thereof.

You know how…

Things start out steamy, then cool, then cold…then conversation only resembles the headlines on a google news feed over the past 12 hours. Priorities shift and morph from curiosity in your lover, friend, or someone you care about, to things that steal our attention.

There are many reasons for this, but I’ve always wondered that if we could remain curious in other’s lives, learning about one another—no matter how small—relationships would thrive and flourish more than they erode with time.

And please don’t think for a minute that just because you’ve been with someone for a long time doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new from them.

We all change—it matters not if we do so intentionally or life forces us to.

Do you know what your partner has recently discovered about life? Has their favorite color changed? Is there a new song out that replaced their fav oldie but goodie?

Spicing our curiosity with some excitement in our relationships is like investing in them and us. We learn and can appreciate them and our relationships while validating our other and making them feel unique and special.

***

Take Away

Both observations seem like worlds apart. They are. But they’re not.

To be your own fan, and look yourself in the mirror in the morning and tell yourself that you love YOU…you’ll feel less insecure, and that positive self-affirmation will be a building block to developing a better self-image.

That will also lead to the ability to break some awful patterns that seem to pop up in our lives.

These days, I feel less sensitive to the lack of affirmation from others; less sensitive to nasty comments.

And…

Showing curiosity with enthusiasm toward someone about their life is a gift I give them by making them feel important and special. The validation that their life matters and someone actually cares about them.


Photo by Teddy Kelley on Unsplash

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Life Hack, Living Better, Self-Improvement, Writing
<em>What Will the Road Look Like When We Look Back</em>

What Will the Road Look Like When We Look Back

When at the end of life’s journey, and looking back…

Will we be filled with regret?

Will it be missed opportunities and false starts?

Will remorse fill the mind as vapor and fog fill a valley in the dead of winter?

Will it be the lack of luck or how unlucky we were that will fill our mouths and issue from our lips?

OR…

Will the end of our days be filled with awe.

Awed that we lived.

Awed that we loved.

Awed that we dared to swim against the stream.

Awed that even though things didn’t work out as planned, we didn’t remain stuck in a corral made by someone else’s expectations and decided to follow our dreams.

Awed that in spite of horrible personal failures, fake friends, unlucky circumstances, and the crushing reality that someone who once said they loved us only to have them turn their backs on us…that we were able to forgive others and ourselves and keep moving forward with a seed of hope that the next moment would be better.

***

Life has crazy twists. It can be beautiful and at the same time, a hard cold unforgivable teacher.

In each of us, we have the ability to process life any way we want to.

I had an older friend recently share with me some pretty crappy circumstances in his life. Things complicated by someone who once told him they loved him.

Yet, he smiled at me, even chuckled as he ended his story, and concluded that life is too short to hold onto a grudge, it wouldn’t matter anyway. Bottom line is, he had to take care of the shit that was piled up in front of him.

It cost him money, time, and energy to remove the shit pile.

He could have told me how he was going to get back at so-&-so, or how mad he still is, but he didn’t.

His smile was genuine. His countenance radiated with a joy of being able to let go, forgive, and after he “fixed the problem”, the solution was far better had he not been forced to deal with it.

He’s made mistakes. He’s blundered through life at times. Others have dealt horrible blows to him. Yet, he smiled and said, “Life is too short…”

***

Putting things in perspective really does help us sort through our shit piles to figure out what truly is important.

And the priorities we give ourselves to, internal and external, Will determine how we view our lives looking back on that fateful day…at the end.

***

As always, thank you for reading.


Photo by Matt Lamers

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Living Better, Self-Improvement